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Sudhakar Windows and Doors

The Skin We Live In Optimising the Efficiency of High-rise buildings through Better Façade & Fenestration Designs

By: Ar. Sonali Bhagwati and Sohrab Dalal, Designplus Architecture (DPA)

In our rapidly urbanising world, the optimisation of high-rise buildings through advanced Façades and fenestration designs is not just a design choice but a necessity. As urban spaces expand, these architectural elements play a pivotal role in shaping our surroundings. Beyond mere aesthetics, they are the silent contributors to sustainability, Sonali Bhagwati and Sohrab Dalal, Founders of Delhi- NCR’s esteemed architectural practice, Design Plus Architecture (DPA) reinstate their passion for designing spaces of aestheticism driven by environmental energy efficiency, and the overall well- being of occupants. In this article, they stress on sensitivity and harmonising with the demands of our contemporary world.

“In the world of burgeoning high-rises, maximising energy efficiency is more crucial than ever”, says Sonali, and the most compelling opportunity for achieving this lies in the very skin of these towering structures – their façade and fenestration!

For those unfamiliar with the terms, the façade is the exterior face of a building, while fenestration refers to the design and placement of windows/glass and doors. Together, they play a monumental role in regulating the building’s internal environment – impacting energy consumption, occupant comfort, and even the overall carbon footprint. Now, with escalating concerns surrounding climate change and resource depletion, it’s imperative to explore how innovative façade and fenestration designs can optimise high-rise energy efficiency.

FACING THE CHALLENGE: ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND BEYOND

High-rise buildings, by their very nature, present unique challenges. They are exposed to greater wind loads and solar radiation, demanding a well-thought-out design envelope to ensure stability and thermal comfort. Yet, conventional façades often fall short, contributing to excessive energy consumption, particularly for heating, cooling, and artificial lighting. This is where optimised building façade and fenestration design step in.

By harnessing a multi-pronged approach, architects can now create high-rises that maximise natural daylighting, minimise unwanted heat gain or loss, and even generate renewable energy all while contributing to a striking, contextually sensitive aesthetic.

UNVEILING THE POTENTIAL: STRATEGIES FOR OPTIMISATION

So, what goes into designing a high-performance façade for a skyscraper? Let’s explore some key strategies:

Optimising façades for high-rises
Optimising façades for high-rises is about creating a healthier and more comfortable space for occupants
  1. Embrace the Sunlight: Strategically incorporating high-performance glazing with varying levels of transparency allows for greater control over solar heat gain. North-facing façades, for instance, could benefit from larger windows to maximise daylighting and minimise dependence on artificial lighting. Conversely, south-facing façades might require a greater focus on shading and reduced glazing to prevent overheating.
  2. Make It Adaptive: The environment surrounding a building is dynamic, with changing sun angles and weather patterns. Responsive façade technologies, like dynamic shading systems and kinetic façades that move with the sun, become instrumental in optimising daylight admission and mitigating unwanted heat gain, contributing significantly to energy-efficient operation.
  3. Let It Breathe: Natural ventilation plays a vital role in promoting occupant comfort and overall efficiency. Introducing operable windows, balcony doors, and ventilation shafts in the façade design allows for controlled air exchange, reducing reliance on energy-intensive HVAC systems.
  4. Double Up on Efficiency: Double-skin façades create an additional layer between the primary façade and the building interior. This buffer zone can act as a thermal shield, reducing heat exchange and contributing to greater internal temperature control.
  5. Harness the Power of Nature: Integrating solar panels into the façade design transforms the building skin into a solar-powered generator. This not only reduces reliance on fossil fuel-based energy but also contributes to a “net-zero” energy concept, where the building produces as much energy as it consumes.

MOVING BEYOND EFFICIENCY BY ENHANCING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE

Optimising façades for high-rises isn’t merely about energy savings and sustainability, but also about creating a healthier and more comfortable space for occupants. Recent studies have shown that natural light exposure and fresh air demonstrably contribute to improved well-being, productivity, and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, innovative façades can become a canvas for artistic expression, fostering a sense of place and identity. Imagine a building skin that reacts to its surroundings, pulsating with light and shadow, or showcasing a vibrant mural that reflects the local culture – the possibilities are endless. .

A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MOVING TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

Ultimately, the responsibility for maximising high-rise efficiency doesn’t solely rest on architects and designers. It requires a collaborative effort between developers, policymakers, and end-users. Fostering awareness about the impact of façade and fenestration design, coupled with incentivising investment in responsible architecture, is crucial for establishing a sustainable future for our growing urban landscape.

In conclusion, as we step into a future dominated by high-rises gracing our skylines, let’s seize the chance to mould them into beacons of creativity and conscientious design. Embracing cutting-edge façade and fenestration strategies transforms these structures into champions of energy efficiency, occupant well-being, and visual splendour – a living testament to our dedication to a greener and more brilliant tomorrow. So, the next time your gaze ascends a towering high-rise, peer beyond its formidable silhouette and recognise its skin, a narrative woven with design ingenuity and our shared pursuit of a better world!

Ar. Sonali Bhagwati and Sohrab Dalal, Designplus Architecture (DPA)

Design Partner

Designplus Architecture Pvt. Ltd (DPA) is a practice based on the belief that each project must be the unique expression of the client’s dream. Counting on sustainability, the team has made every project a triumph of collaboration of disciplines, expertise and experience. Ar. Sonali Bhagwati and Ar. Sohrab Dalal are the founders of the design firm DPA. DPA is an architectural design firm formed out of a merger of DesignPlus and Spazzio Design. DesignPlus with its experience in large format projects and Spazzio with its high design & boutique projects background were a perfect match to provide a wide bandwidth of services. The firm endeavours to create an environment that is seamlessly woven into an organization’s culture while reinforcing the brand identity. DPA believes that good design is intelligence made visible. Innovative design integrated with engineering services has ensured vibrant and successful built environments. Ar. Sonali Bhagwati is a graduate of the prestigious C.E.P.T. University in Ahmadabad. The distinguished architect has over 30 years of experience. She has an unparalleled talent and vision and her journey in the realm of architecture began with a strong foundation. Her passion for the art of building and design and learning architecture under the guidance of esteemed architects like B.V. Doshi and Bernard Kohn embarked her on a transformative learning experience. Sonali’s scholarship from L’Institut Francais D’Architecture afforded her the privilege of training under a master architect, honing her skills to perfection. Ar. Sohrab Dalal completed his Degree in Architecture from CEPT, Ahmedabad. After working with renowned sculpture architect Satish Gujral for a few years, he founded the design firm – Spazzio Design Architecture with Sonali Bhagwati. In 2010, it merged with DPA and Ar. Sohrab took over as Managing Director of Designplus Architecture Pvt. Ltd. While talking to the two stalwarts Ar. Sonali Bhagwati & Ar. Sohrab Dalal, we tried to unfold the story of the legendary design firm DPA from its inception to the present, and their dreams for the future.

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